Background checks can’t prevent gun violence — because the NRA designed them to fail

Background checks can’t prevent gun violence — because the NRA designed them to fail

Since America’s instant check system for gun buyers went online in November 1998, the gun control movement and its allies in Congress have made the expansion of the system their primary focus. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was designed to be fast and easy. Licensed dealers call in a prospective gun buyer’s information to an FBI call center in Clarksburg, West Virginia, where checkers run the name through three separate computer databases of past criminal offenders and those adjudicated for mental illness. The process takes only a few minutes. But the efficiency comes with a price. NICS has failed spectacularly in one high-profile shooting after another, allowing individuals with a history of violence and/or severe mental illness to legally purchase weapons later used in a slaughter. By ignoring this problem with NICS, gun control advocates seem to be forgetting the history of the Brady Bill and the method by which computer background checks came into being. The NRA, not the gun control movement, was the creator of the FBI call-in system. The system was designed to fail from the start. * * * The deliberate mediocrity of our background checks has its roots in an era when stopping violent gun buyers was a hopeless exercise. President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Great Persuader, lobbied hard for the Gun Control Act of 1968, which he said should prevent “hardened criminals, or alcoholics, or drug addicts or mentally unstable” citizens from buying guns. But Congress sent him a weak […]

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